Monday, April 15, 2024
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10pc increase in overall crime rate

A 10 per cent increase in the overall crime rate was recorded for the month of January due to a worrying increase in crimes against women and a significant increase in the number of illicit drug cases registered.

Crimes against women recorded a 31 per cent increase with 252 cases received in January 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

Of the 252 crime cases, a significant 17 per cent were committed in the domestic setting, primarily by spouses or partners, and women between the ages of 18-38 represent the largest proportions of victims.

It is also worrying to note that Assault Causing Actual Bodily Harm cases involving women increased from 139 cases recorded for the month of January 2023 to 167 cases for the same period this year, and rape cases rose from 14 to 35 cases, with some reports recording multiple counts.

The Southern, Western and Eastern Divisions recorded increases in crimes against women, while the North and Central Divisions recorded decreases.

Acting Commissioner of Police Juki Fong Chew said the increase is alarming and is again calling on community and religious leaders to help Police curb all forms of violence against women.

He said as majority of the cases are occurring within domestic settings, Police need as much help as possible to address violence against women, and protect victims from the devastating consequences of these crimes.

During the month of January, the most prevalent offences were; Assault causing actual bodily harm (315 cases), Theft (280 cases), Unlawful Possession of illicit drugs (153 cases), Burglary and Aggravated Burglary (138 cases) and Criminal Intimidation (84 cases).

Drug cases for the month of January recorded a significant 94 per cent increase as 169 illicit drugs cases were registered compared to 87 for the same period last year.

Of the 169 cases, 153 pertained to the unlawful possession of illicit drugs, 15 cases related to the unlawful cultivation and one case of unlawful importation of drugs.

Twenty-four per cent or 40 cases were associated with methamphetamine while the remaining 129 cases were linked to the unlawful possession or cultivation of marijuana.

The Acting Commissioner said fighting and curbing the illicit drug trade needed a collaborative approach, as community support is vital to the success of drug operations.

Chew said the successful raids and arrests made in the Northern Division in recent weeks, is an example of effective Police and community partnerships.

He said information has been forthcoming about the cultivation and distribution of drugs, namely marijuana, and this has resulted in the seizure and arrests of individuals involved in the sale of marijuana.

Chew said similar collaborative efforts can assist in curbing other serious crimes.

There were 100 cases of sexual offences reported last month. Of the 100 cases, there were 50 cases of rape, 13 cases of indecent assault, 13 cases of indecent assaults, sexual assault 12 cases, indecently insulting and annoying a person 8, abduction 6, attempt to commit rape 5, defilement 4 cases and incest 2 cases.

While the January crime rate has recorded an increase compared to the same period last year, the monthly overall crime rate has consistently remained below the average trend for the last 5 years.

The number of overall crime cases recorded during January 2024 was 1,390, which is lower than the average of 1,513 cases recorded over the past five years.

Chew said community and police partnerships is vital in ensuring safe communities for all and while there have been incidents that have impacted public confidence in the organisation, he assures the Fijian public, that officers remain committed to upholding their oath of service.

He said there are thousands of officers who diligently and faithfully conduct their work in the rural, maritime and urban centers committed to the protection of life and property, and is urging stakeholders in both the private and public sector, civil society and community leaders to assist police through various crime prevention initiatives through the Community Policing Unit.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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